Page 1 of 3 Next >> Regulation changes, which included a displacement limit of 3-litre, rendered the Jaguar D-Type virtually obsolete for the 1958 season. By then the iconic Jaguar had won Le Mans three times in a row. The Works team had already withdrawn from active racing at the end of 1956, having clinched the important Le Mans race four times in the last six attempts. In 1957 privateer teams like Ecurie Ecosse and Briggs Cunningham continued to race the D-Type, with the former adding a third victory to the machine's tally. Some D-Types were equipped with 3-litre engines for 1958, but the limited power available really exposed the weaknesses of the chassis and engine.
Jaguar founder William Lyons had not discarded the D-Type with its thoroughly modern semi-monocoque chassis at all. From 1957 onwards he used the now defunct racing department to turn the D-Type into a proper road car to replace the XK-series. The first 'E-Type' prototype was constructed later that year and bore close similarities to its racing counterpart. It was dubbed the E1A in reference to its aluminium monocoque chassis. The biggest difference was the adoption of fully independent rear suspension, replacing the archaic live-axle used on the D-Type. Equipped with a relatively small version of the XK straight six engine, E1A was extensively tested and only rarely seen in public.
Far away from the public eye, Jaguar's engineers continued their work. Turning a racing car into a production road car clearly took some time. For financial and practical reasons it was decided that the chassis of the road car should be constructed from steel instead of aluminium. It took a further three years before the second E-Type prototype was built. Even though it featured the steel semi-monocoque chassis, it was still dubbed E2A. Construction commenced early in 1960 and the completed machine was ready for testing in March. William Lyons clearly felt that cars were best tested under racing conditions, so E2A was finished as a racing car. Page 1 of 3 Next >>